How design can lead to more innovative housing developments

There are many new housing estates being built across Britain, but many of them are not being considered great examples of architectural design.

For economic reasons, builders want to pack as many houses onto a new site as possible, which means making rooms smaller with lack of storage space and minuscule gardens.

Developers are also sometimes providing limited stylistic choices. This is done to make sure that the houses are not too expensive and profit margins are healthy, but can leave homeowners a little underwhelmed.

In 2012, a Future Home Commission report found that the average new home had small rooms, not enough storage space, and too little natural light. In Germany, rooms were 80% bigger and in Denmark they were 55% larger. Lack of noise isolation was revealed to be another issue, with intrusive sounds often heard from neighbouring properties.

However, great designs can solve these issues, with a number of innovative housing developments having been built across the UK in recent years, especially in the North West. These sites often feature attractive, quality-constructed dwellings with large windows, which are also energy efficient. Many of these developments only come with a modest increase in costs, meaning that they are often in high demand.

It is also easy to find wonderful looking designs in single house developments and renovations. Self-build houses in particular often feature creative architecture that reflects the personalities of their owners.

There are numerous things that could improve matters. For example, planning regulations could encourage more experimentation. An example of this is in Amsterdam at Scheepstimmermanstraat, where there are 60 unique houses along one avenue. Flexible planning rules meant that each dwelling was designed to take into account the personal taste of its occupants.

There are also moves towards more energy efficient houses, which could further influence housing design in a positive way.

Posted by Adam Lloyd
June 19, 2015

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